Leadership and the Environment


248: Countdown, a book I recommend by Alan Weisman

Ep. 248

I just finished an eye-opening book, Countdown, by Alan Weisman. It covers population.

Weisman traveled to and reported on about a dozen places' views and practices on population and family planning.

In this episode, I read a few passages that I found shocking. I barely scratch the book's surface, but I believe you'll find the sections equally noteworthy. I recommend reading the rest to understand this integral part of our world.

More Episodes


290: Excessive Self Interest, from Thomas Kolditz

Ep. 290
I ask people their reasons for polluting activities like flying, take-out, taking taxis or ride shares where public transit serves. They consistently tell me that they love these things. They love visiting family, seeing remote places, etc.If you feel similarly, you're about to face some tough love. These motivations came to mind while listening to Thomas Kolditz on a podcast I listen to and that has featured me. He is one of today's premier leaders and leadership educators. A few words about him:Tom Kolditz is the founding Director of the Ann and John Doerr Institute for New Leaders at Rice University–the most comprehensive, evidence-based, university-wide leader development program in the world. The Doerr Institute was recognized in 2019 as the top university leader development program by the Association of Leadership Educators. Prior to Rice, he taught as a Professor in the Practice of Leadership and Management and Director of the Leadership Development Program at the Yale School of Management.A retired Brigadier General, Tom led the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership at West Point for 12 years.I heard him on The Leadership Podcast, hosted by Jan Rutherford and Jim Vaselopulos (who interviewed my in 2017 “What An Ivy League Degree Can’t Teach You.”).I recommend only listening if you're prepared for some straight, sobering talk on what those motivations mean.I also include a quote from that conversation about our sorry state of leadership education, which I relate to our sorrier state of environmental action education.The Leadership Podcast with Jan Rutherford and Jim VaselopulosThe Thomas Kolditz episode I quotedThomas Kolditz's pageMy episode, What An Ivy League Degree Can’t Teach You

289: Rob J. Harper, part 1: The Conservative Black Cowboy I met at Google

Ep. 289
Most people will find my conversation with Rob unexpected, but talking with someone with his experience and views has long been one of my goals. People keep associating the environment with the political left, but everyone wants clean air, land, and water.Regular listeners know Rob from my appearing in a video episode, A Different Look At Climate Change, at Magamedia.org---MAGA as in Trump's Make America Great Again. Rob supports Trump enthusiastically. In New York City, identifying oneself out of the mainstream reads of a heartfelt deliberate decision.I dislike what I see as the left's coopting the environment as a wedge issue. I don't see trying to beat the right as working. I also don't see combining the environment with things the right dislikes as effective, especially given Trump winning the last presidential election and his environmental views and actions.If you think the quote I started this episode with of Rob describing the effect of Al Gore's personal behavior on the right is unfair or irrelevant, I suggest that you're missing that leadership means understanding what motivates those you want to lead. To learn their beliefs and views.For context, I recommend listening to my episode describing how we met, episode 266: Thoughts in my MAGA interview, and my appearance in his show.It's a long conversation, but if you value people you wouldn't expect to communicate learning and sharing with each other, you'll love this episode. Rob shared a lot of conservatives' motivations around the environment. He also shared some personal environmental values and is acting on them---not because I told him facts, figures, doom, gloom, or to think of the children or other ways I hear people frankly as I see it bludgeoning others to comply.I can't wait to keep talking more and to hear his results. Actually, I can't wait to collaborate more if we can. Partly I want to keep learning perspectives I don't know, as much as everyone I know who works on the environment hates Trump.I hope this conversation starts a collaboration to help conservatives enjoy acting on the environment, to share their actions from joy notcoercion. I hope to help make environmental action and legislation as non-partisan as traffic.My appearance on MagaMedia.org, A Different Look At Climate ChangeMy post about appearing on Magamedia.orgRob's Twitter page

288: Vince Lombardi: What It Takes

Ep. 288
Nearly everyone treats acting on the environment as a burden or chore---especially would-be leaders who don't do what they say others should. They lead people to inaction.Effective leaders don't discourage. I find role models to inspire me.Vince Lombardi tops many people's lists of all-time top coaches. The NFL named the Superbowl trophy after him. His teams dominated the game.He shared the core of his ethos in a short essay, What It Takes to Be Number 1. It is an ethos of integrity, of finding your best and living your best. Acting on the environment in this time of crisis brought out my best and continues to. I am acting to bring out the best in you and everyone. I haven't accomplished what Lombardi has, so I'm sharing his message and applying it to acting on the environment.I won't tell anyone to stop spreading facts, figures, doom, gloom, and coercion, but I think they'll get more results sharing something more like Lombardi did.I believe it will be more effective. It will be a lot more fun too.The obituary that prompted this post: Willie Wood, Hall of Fame defensive back for Vince Lombardi’s Packers, dies at 83My post applying the I Have a Dream speech's ethos: I Have an Environmental DreamMy post applying Shakespeare's Henry V's St Crispin's day speech's ethos: We few, we happy few, we band of brothersHere's his essay:What it takes to be number oneBy Vince LombardiWinning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all the time thing. You don’t win once in a while; you don’t do things right once in a while; you do them right all of the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.There is no room for second place. There is only one place in my game, and that’s first place. I have finished second twice in my time at Green Bay, and I don’t ever want to finish second again. There is a second place bowl game, but it is a game for losers played by losers. It is and always has been an American zeal to be first in anything we do, and to win, and to win, and to win.Every time a football player goes to ply his trade he’s got to play from the ground up – from the soles of his feet right up to his head. Every inch of him has to play. Some guys play with their heads. That’s O.K. You’ve got to be smart to be number one in any business. But more importantly, you’ve got to play with your heart, with every fiber of your body. If you’re lucky enough to find a guy with a lot of head and a lot of heart, he’s never going to come off the field second.Running a football team is no different than running any other kind of organization – an army, a political party or a business. The principles are the same. The object is to win – to beat the other guy. Maybe that sounds hard or cruel. I don’t think it is.It is a reality of life that men are competitive and the most competitive games draw the most competitive men. That’s why they are there – to compete. The object is to win fairly, squarely, by the rules – but to win.And in truth, I’ve never known a man worth his salt who in the long run, deep down in his heart, didn’t appreciate the grind, the discipline. There is something in good men that really yearns for discipline and the harsh reality of head to head combat.I don’t say these things because I believe in the ‘brute’ nature of men or that men must be brutalized to be combative. I believe in God, and I believe in human decency. But I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour — his greatest fulfillment to all he holds dear — is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.